This content first appeared on Crosswalk.com and is used here with permission. To view the original visit: https://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/fromhisheart/from-his-heart-week-of-feb-8-11566681.html
TELLING THE TRUTH
"An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; and My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?"
Can you imagine going to the doctor for a check up, and he finds out that you have cancer? He knows it is treatable if you jump on it quickly. Without a doubt you can be saved. Yet, this doctor does not want to make you fearful or uncomfortable. He does not want to give you any bad news. He wants you to like him... so he tells you, "You are ok, my friend. Watch your diet... get plenty of rest and exercise... and enjoy life." You leave "feeling" good, totally unaware that you are in serious, serious trouble.
I would not go to that kind of a doctor, would you? As much as it may hurt in the short run to get bad news about my physical health, I would much rather hear the truth than be told a lie.
Since the dawn of civilization, the devil has been working day in and day out to "make crooked the straight ways of the Lord" (Acts 13:10). One of the best ways for him to accomplish this is to fill the pulpits with a false gospel... a "Tastes great, less filling" gospel; an "I'm okay, you're okay" gospel. My pastor in college, Harold O'Chester, once preached a sermon titled "I'm Okay, You're Okay... BULL!" He was not known for his subtlety. I loved that about him.
What is the truth that we all need to hear?
Everyone is born into this world in serious trouble. We are born with spiritual cancer called sin - "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Ps. 51:5). Because we are all born with spiritual cancer, we are not okay. We are on the highway to hell and can do nothing in and of ourselves to get off this highway. No amount of good works, church attendance, Bible reading, church membership, baptism, financial giving, fasting, prayer or selfless service can get us off the highway to hell.
God still loves us and has made a way of escape in Jesus Christ. Jesus came to this earth for one main reason: to pay for our sins on the cross - "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Mk. 10:45). The blood He shed on the cross has the power, in God's economy, to take away the spiritual cancer of sin.
You and I can be set free from the highway to hell IF AND ONLY IF we repent of our sins (turn from being our own boss and doing what we want to do) and put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ and Him alone. No one can do this for you. It is a personal, individual decision that must be made in order to be cleansed of spiritual cancer.
The evidence that we have truly given our lives to Christ and have placed our faith and trust in Him is this: a changed life. Has your life been changed... on the inside? Are you any different... on the inside?
So many people have religion and not a true relationship with God through Jesus Christ. What is the difference?
Religion is an outside job... it is gritting your teeth, slugging it out and trying to do better. It is cleaning the outside of the cup while the inside stays dirty. RELIGION WILL NEVER GET YOU TO HEAVEN. Nicodemus was religious to the hilt, but he was so lost. Jesus told him, "Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (Jn. 3:3).
A true relationship with Christ is an inside job. The Lord comes to live inside of us ("Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?"). When Jesus lives inside, you will know it. He will make changes in your life. You will be convicted of sin (a "this is wrong" attitude toward sin)... you will have a desire for God and the things of God... you will have a hunger and thirst for His Word... and you will have a desire to be with other Christians.
DO YOU HAVE THE REAL THING?
My friend, do you have the real thing... a true relationship with Christ and not just lifeless religion? Search your heart and "test yourselves to see if you are in the faith" (2 Cor. 13:5). The worst thing that could ever happen to a person is to life live thinking they were okay and hear those terrible words at the judgment, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness" (Matt. 7:23).
If you are not sure about your salvation, surrender your life TODAY to Jesus. Quit trusting in yourself and your good works to save you. Trust in Him and Him alone. Pray this simple prayer from the heart:
"Lord Jesus, I need you. I am a sinner, and I am lost, and I cannot save myself. I am on the highway to hell. Save me, Jesus. I believe you are God. I believe you died and rose again for me... and I place all my faith and trust in you. Forgive me of all my sins and come into my life. Change me and make me yours forever. Amen."
Remember, God does business with those who mean business. The moment you pray that prayer and really mean it, Jesus comes into your life and saves you forever. If you did just now pray this prayer, let us know so we can rejoice with you and send you some materials to help you grow.
Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries
Dr. Jeff Schreve believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a wonderful plan just for you. From His Heart provides real truth, love and hope on over 700 radio stations each day, in 182 countries each week on TV, and is always available online. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All donations go to furthering the broadcast outreach. As a listener/viewer supported ministry, we thank you for joining with us to help speak the truth in love to a lost and hurting world. Go to www.fromhisheart.org for more information.
How well do you understand yourself? How knowledgeable are you concerning your strengths, your weaknesses, and your pathway to victorious Christian living? In this fun and insightful series, Dr. Jeff Schreve shares practical truths from the Scripture to help you live in harmony with yourself, with others, and most importantly with the Lord. Click here to find out more!